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New ear-cleaning device suctions the wax out

Ear cleaning is about to get a long-deserved equipment upgrade. Seattle-based start-up SafKhan has come up with the OtoSet, an ear-cleaning device that can suction out impacted earwax in less than one minute, according to a report from GeekWire.

The OtoSet resembles an ordinary pair of comfortable headphones. But it is an automated ear-cleaning device that will take just 35 seconds to clear out the earwax from your ear canal.

SafKan announced that it has raised enough seed money for the first stage of its market launch. It will debut the OtoSet at selected hospitals in the West Coast.

According to Sahil Diwan, the co-founder and CEO of the company, the Seattle Angel Conference contributed the most amount to the first round of funding. Another important contributor was the VC fund created by “angel investors.”

Diwan adds that primary care doctors and otolaryngologists will get the first shot at using the OtoSet in 2018. The device will be tested on patients and clients at University of Washington Medicine, Stanford Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, and Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

The initial batch of OtoSets will be restricted to medical professionals. Diwan promises that SafKan will eventually make the ear-cleaning device available to general consumers.

SafKan OtoSet loosens impacted earwax with water before sucking it into nozzles

Diwan founded SafKan along with his brother, Aadil. In addition to serving as the chief technology officer (CTO), Aadil also invented the OtoSet, the very first device they are marketing.

According to the Diwan brothers, the OtoSet specializes in removing impacted earwax. A recurring problem that plagues many Americans, impacted earwax can cause pain, injuries, and even hearing loss in a patient.

The established treatment for impacted earwax has a health professional use a blunt syringe to shoot water into the ear canal and loosen the earwax. The method was first used in 1821.

Health professionals warn against using Q-tips to clean out earwax. Despite being tipped with cotton, the bud can damage the fragile skin inside the ear canal, which would result in a ruptured eardrum. (Related: More children are admitted to the emergency room each day for cotton tip swab injuries than for firearm injuries.)

After going through that crude and time-consuming method one too many times, Aadil decided he could do much better. His efforts led to the creation of the OtoSet.

The headset parts contains nozzles that spray warm water and hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal of the patient. The mixture quickly loosens the impacted earwax from the canal and flushes it out.

Once the earwax is out of the canal, the nozzles work in reverse. They suck the water-hydrogen peroxide mixture back into the device, and the earwax is dragged along as well. This keep the mess from spilling out of the OtoSet’s headset.

Turning ear-cleaning into a money-making procedure for health professionals

In a previous interview with GeekWire, Sahil Diwan said the OtoSet makes ear-cleaning easier, quicker and more comfortable for patients and health professional alike. It also offers an additional benefit from a business perspective.

Diwan believes physicians and health service providers lose money whenever they have to clean a patient’s ears. He chalks this up to labor costs. The health professional is forced to refer the patient to an ear-cleaning specialist.

He believes the OtoSet will make ear-cleaning profitable for health professionals. There will be no more need to refer to specialists since the physician can perform the process himself. And since the automated device makes the process very quick, the physician has more time to devote to other patients.

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